Opposing 3rd-Party Claims

August 12, 2023

What if you are levying an asset belonging to your judgment debtor, and the Sheriff later serves you with a notice of somebody’s 3rd-Party claim on that asset?

One of many judgment-related articles: I am not a lawyer, and this article is my opinion based on my experience in California, please consult with a lawyer if you need legal advice.

In California, (things will be similar in most other states) the Sheriff will provide you with the instructional steps you must take to oppose a 3rd-Party claim.

The Sheriff would serve you with a notice of 3rd-party claim, including the date of the service, and whether you must obtain a bond, or apply for an Ex-Parte order directing the levying officer to hold off until the results of the court hearing is known.

If a bond (often called an undertaking) is required, it must be filed with a California Sheriff within ten days of the 3rd-party filing a claim with the Sheriff (add 5 days if it served by mail). In California, see CCPs 720.140, 720.240, and 720.260.

The notice will include the 3rd-party claim filed, the bond amount due to the Sheriff. In California, as per CCP 995.370, you are the principle, and need an affidavit of service notarized. Usually, the Sheriff keeps the original bond, and requires a letter to the Sheriff when submitting the bond to them.

To oppose a 3rd-party claim, you need to arrange a 3rd-party claim and petition hearing with the court. Contact the calendar clerk and reserve a date. Try to get an early date., well within the time limit. In California, it is 16 court days, plus 5 days if mailing the notice.

Prepare your opposition petition and statement. After they are served on the 3rd-party, file them both together with the court. (in California, see CCP 720.340, usually you simply put your petition/statement in the court’s drop box. There is usually a $60.00 hearing fee and no first appearance fee. Include an extra copy of your paperwork, and a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of the court’s conformed documents.

You must indicate whether you are an adverse party, whether you are a party named in the original judgment, and whether it is an action, where one party prosecutes another. In California (CCP 702.310), the petition/statement must be filed within 15 days of the date the 3rd-party filed their claim with the levying officer.

A copy of the creditor’s statement, along with any required undertaking bond must be filed with the Sheriff, the 3rd-party, and the judgment debtor.

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